The motorcycle is a combination of many parts. The tires, the engine, and the lights are the more prominent ones.
Our focus, however, is the motorcycle chain. Without a functional chain, your motorcycle grinds to a halt.
One of the most important but frequently overlooked motorcycle parts is the chain. This is why it wears often.
To keep it in excellent condition for a long time, it needs to be maintained. One way to do that is by lubricating it. After about 400-500 miles of the ride, your bike chain should be due for some lubrication.
How should it be done?
Chain wax and chain lube are two types of motorcycle chain lubricants. They perform the same function of lubricating the motorcycle chain. However, they differ in that while the wax, just like its name, comes in the form of a paste, the Lube comes in a liquid spray form.
We intend to have a straightforward chain wax vs. lube matchup to know which lubrication is better for your motorcycle chain. The two types offer similar results. They protect the chain from wear and tear and repel dirt and wear-causing particles.
Lubricating the chains of the motorcycle prevents rust and corrosion and help to improve the durability and efficiency of the bike. As we’ll see later in the article, several factors determine the type of chain lubricant that can be used, from the kind of chain itself to the terrain of the motorcycle and whether it gets wet frequently or not.
What Is Chain Wax?
Melted wax. Chains. That’s all.
There’s no hard and fast rule about waxing chains. Chain wax, just like its name connotes, is a time-tested way of lubricating your motorcycle chains.
It involves immersing your chain into melted wax for bicycles, forming a protective layer around your chain. The wax dries quickly, and the chain is coated with it. As the chain is dipped into the hot wax, every part of it is covered, protecting the chain for about 300-400 miles of the ride, depending on the terrain of the bike.
But for motorcycles, it is not as complicated as that, although the procedure is similar. The chain wax, as noted earlier, comes in the form of a paste, so you’ll need to apply it with a brush to the parts of the chain. The limitations are immediately apparent.
It is almost impossible to wax all the parts of the chain. It is also quite laborious and time-consuming. But, you’ll be able to track your waxing progress as the white color indicates what areas are left untouched. But once waxed, it offers very efficient protection for all parts of the chain.
To make the job easier, though, many chains waxes now come in aerosol-like forms which can be sprayed rather than brushed onto the chain.
Waxing a motorcycle with such waxes (and every other kind of wax) is usually preceded by cleaning the chain to remove dirt and other greasy particles. You may use water, but you must undoubtedly use degreasers and methylated spirits or any kind of alcohol that can leave your chains squeaky clean.
Once the chains are certified clean, allow the bike to stand such that the rear wheel can be easily rotated so that the parts of the chain will be seen. While rotating the rear wheel, you should then spray the chain wax directly to the parts of the chain.
To prevent waxing other places apart from the chain, you may cover them. If it is difficult rotating and waxing simultaneously, you can ask someone to help you with the rotation.
Wax dries quickly, and you only need all five minutes before getting your motorcycle roaring again.
Although it requires some effort, waxing the chains of the motorbike guarantees that it is clean and runs more smoothly and efficiently. The chain is kept clean, and the wear of the entire chain is reduced almost to zero. Chain wax, if applied well, can penetrate every part of the chain.
One disadvantage of the wax is that you may be unable to reach some of the parts of the chain unless you are very deliberate.
Very efficient in protecting the chain. This is because the wax forms a durable layer that keeps the chain protected.
Resists wear-causing particles and contaminants. Once the wax is on the chains, particles that can cause corrosion or wear and tear can’t get on the chains.
Easy to do. Applying the chain wax requires little or no special skills.
Long-lasting. It is known that chain wax lasts long and can provide protection for up to 300 kilometers.
It dries very quickly and penetrates most chain parts with a brush.
It could be time-consuming. Applying wax with a brush may take a lot of time.
It takes a lot more effort, especially for the paste wax
It may not lubricate all the parts of the chain (this also applies to the chain wax)
What is Chain Lube?
Meanwhile, the chain lube is a straightforward way of lubricating your motorcycle chains. If the procedure of waxing the chains looks too cumbersome, then you’ll be interested in the Lube.
The chain lube is as simple as pointing your spray canister to the chains and lubricating it. Because it has aerosol-like properties, the chain lube can reach all chain parts. As you spray it, it may look messy, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. However, it is an effortless and convenient way of keeping your chains lubricated.
The Lube creates a wet surface that is believed to attract dirt and other types of properties. When using the chain lube, you must ensure you don’t miss the chain as this may attract dirt and create a mess. But the significant advantage is that the Lube penetrates the chain better, providing even more excellent lubrication for every part of the chain.
The chain lube is thought to provide a better alternative if you need faster lubrication for your motorcycle.
The chain lube provides a faster means of lubrication. It is as simple as pointing the tube to the chain and applying it.
This process is easier and reaches every part of the chain. There’s no part of the chain that is not lubricated.
The chain lube is easy to apply. It requires no particular skill at all.
The process does not lead to long-lasting lubrication. It requires more frequent application than the chain wax.
It cannot protect the chain from wet terrains. If the user spends a lot of time on wet surfaces, the chain lube becomes ineffective.
As noted earlier, there are several similarities between chain wax lubrication and chain lube. There are also several differences. But let’s make a comparison.
Chain wax is more difficult to apply. Although the latest technology means that wax can now be used just like Lube, it still requires more effort than Lube.
Chain wax provides more protection against dirt and wet conditions. As a solid layer that coats the chain, wax repels any properties that can cause corrosion. Although Lube is also effective, it is not very effective in wet terrains.
Chain wax comes in different forms but is mainly in the form of a white paste that can be manually applied onto the chain. The Lube is in the form of an aerosol that can be applied around the chain.
Wax does last longer than Lube as a lubricant. Conversely, Lube dries faster, and the bike can be used almost immediately after application.
Wax can’t easily reach all parts of the chains without a lot of effort. Meanwhile, as a spray, Lube will easily penetrate all parts of the chain. This makes it more effective in the immediate.
There are several similarities between the two chain lubricants. First, they are both chain lubricants. That means they improve the functionality of the motorcycle chain by reducing wear and tear.
When applied, they prevent friction, thereby enhancing the lifespan of the chains and the bike. On application, these chain lubricants repel water and anything that may initiate rust and corrosion.
Let’s look at them more closely.
Although the chain wax can be applied in different ways, it also comes in cans that can be sprayed, just like the lube wax.
They are both water-resistant. That means when applied; they prevent water from staying on the chain.
They have cleaning properties. That means they can clean the chains by dissolving dirt that forms around it.
They also both keep the chains functioning optimally.
As also noted earlier, the two types of chain lubricants have a lot of similarities. However, there are some differences. Let’s look at some of them.
The chain wax exists in the form of a paste and is often applied with a brush, but the chain lube exists in the form of a spray that can be easily used on every part of the chain. (Some brands, however, have produced wax that looks like lubes).
Chain wax has an adhesive property, making it difficult for water to penetrate the coating. Chain lube is not adhesive and does not have that many water-resistant properties.
Chain wax is effective in very wet terrains. Chain Lube is not very efficient in wet terrains. However, if your bike is used in dry terrains, it is appropriate to use chain lube.
Applying the lube chain canister is less time-consuming. This is because it is easier to use.
More wax is used than Lube for lubricating chains.
Which One Do I Choose?
We haven’t talked about the type of chain in your motorbike. The type of chain in your bike would determine the chain lubricants you will use.
There are two main types of chains in motorbikes: Plain chains and sealed chains.
Plain chains need a lot of lubricants, while sealed chains do not. That is because sealed chains are already protected against water and dirt. However, you may still need to lubricate the sealed chains against rust.
Most modern motorbikes come with sealed chains. So, to prevent rust, what would be the best option?
Naturally, chain wax is better to use in this regard. Also, regardless of your chain type, if you’re often in wet terrains, the chain wax would serve you better. Its water-resistant nature means you can keep riding without fear of getting your chains corroded. While the lube chain would help, you would need to reapply it as its water-repellent nature frequently isn’t so strong.
However, if your bike is mainly on the regular road and is not always on wet terrains, then the ease of the lube chain makes it better for you. Also, if you do not take your motorcycle on long journeys, it may not be necessary to use the chain wax lubricants.
While it is easy for us to recommend the chain wax because it is more durable, the condition of your bike determines the best choice for you
Every motorcycle needs to have its chain functioning properly. The easiest way to do that is by lubricating it. There are two main types of chain lubricants: chain wax and chain lube.
Depending on the terrain of the bike, the kind of chain, and how frequently the motorcycle is used, you may choose either of the two. However, the chain wax is known to be more durable as it has greater water-resistant properties.
Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.